NHL vs Crazy Euro Swimming Pools

Sorry for being quiet the last few days, I’m on vacay in Europe. No, I’m not scouting for the next great prospect. Budapest and Vienna aren’t exactly hockey hotbeds. Prague is, but there’s a bit more to do there. But while here, I started thinking a bit about various European leagues. The NHL is the best league, but is really the best place for players?

As an athlete, what do you look for most? Number one, is competition. Number two, salary. After that, it’s all about the athletes lives away from the ice.  First off, the KHL and Swedish Elite League both are strong leagues.  Second, salaries are on the rise in those leagues as well. Rich businessmen and low tax rates now provide an opportunity for players to get rich outside of N. America. So, what about other things that Europe provides that we don’t have in the States:

If I had to pick one thing, and one thing only, I’d say it’s the swimming pool at the spa in Budapest near hero square. In the middle of one of the pools is something that looks like a donut. The ring of the donut has powerful jets that force everyone in there to spin around the circle. You don’t even have to swim, it just pushes you around. It’s awesome!

Of course I’m joking around, but it’s just an example of how unique life is there.  Imagine if the leagues here, or at least some of the teams, unite to form a bigger league (something that the KHL aims to try to do). Getting around country to country is fast, especially with the EU running things. No more passport checks at borders, short cheap flights. An each country has something unique to offer. And for many stars, it’s a chance to be very close to home. Imagine taking a pre-game jog up the Spanish Steps, playing a game, hopping on a quick flight, a breakfast of frankfurters, and so on. Of course there’s variety in the US (and Canada), but not like it is here. It’s hard to put into words, it’s something you need to see for yourself.

Now I know it’s a Flyers blog, so back that real quickly.

Rumor has it that Gagne was asked to wave his no-trade clause.  I love Gags, but this does make sense. It’s the last year of his deal, he’s over 30, he’s starting to get hurt more, and we need goalie help. NHL.com mentions a possible deal with the LA Kings for either one of their young goalies. Seems like a good fit to me. Neither one is going to be very expensive to resign, and both are considered pretty good prospects. Then again, all of our depth is at center, and Gagne has been our best wing for a long time. But I’m not worried that much about scoring, if we can improve our D a bit. So if this deal goes through, then I guess we lose a bit of this to get a bit of that. And that is exactly what we need to put us over the top to get a Cup.

Thanks for reading!

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Tags: Budapest KHL Los Angeles Kings NHL Philadelphia Flyers Prague Simon Gagne Vienna

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